Someone on Tumblr asked about the incident referenced in "Unsent Correspondence" where Theron mentioned that Doc gave him a black eye.
Coruscant was nearing it's fifth month in the blockade, supplies had started to run short, tempers were starting to run high, and not even the Dealer's Den Cantina was immune to the planet-wide cabin fever. Alcohol tended to exaggerate the mood of the crowd, and tonight it just seemed to fuel the general feeling of unrest of the whole populace. Theron had just gotten his third glass of the evening, ignoring the frown that Jonas was shooting him across the room. If his fellow SIS Agent didn't want to drink, then he shouldn't have kept dragging Theron away from the Heorem Complex. But he did, in the misguided efforts of whatever these male bonding outings were supposed to be.
It was crowded tonight — a lot of people attempting to find some temporary escape and respite from reality after further rationing had been announced. Authorities struggled to get supplies of every type in. Agriculture was practically non-existent on the ecumenopolis, and it was difficult to keep a trillion mouths fed without their normal routes of commerce. It was only a matter of time before they were starved into submission, but no one seemed to be ready to face that reality yet.
Navigating the crowd was difficult with a full glass, and Theron probably shouldn't have been attempting to drink it while shouldering people out of the way, then again, he shouldn't have done a lot of things in general. He hadn't even made it halfway back to his and Jonas's normal booth when he collided with another solid mass, wasting a perfectly good pour of whisky on some drunken idiot's shirt.
"Hey, buddy," the joviality of the other man's voice was forced, "you really ought to drink that instead of—"
The witty retort died on the other man's lips as he got a good look at who had just spilled his drink. Theron had already taken in the dark hair, rogueish grin, and mustache, and even two drinks in, he recognized him right away.
"Doc," he said, not exactly dumbfounded, but a little numb.
"You," the reply was nearly a snarl.
Theron had last spoken to the medic's flickering holo image nearly six months prior, but he hadn't seen Doc in-person since they were all on Yavin IV. That moon was filled with memories that Theron was actively trying to forget. They used to be good memories, but now were closer to an open wound than anything comforting.
"The hell are you doing here?"
"Drinking," Theron said flatly. "And now I have to get a new one. Thanks for that."
"You ran into me!"
"Watch where you're going then."
Theron turned on his heel back in the direction of a bar, but felt a vice-like grip land on his bicep. He looked down at it, then back at its owner. Even on his third drink, it would still be easy to break that hand in three places and be out the door in about ten seconds. A small, familiar voice in the back of his mind told him he was being ridiculous, and that he should just see what the other man had to say.
He just stared unblinkingly at Doc. "Yes?"
"What the hell is your problem?"
"Right now, some drunk asshole won't let me get a refill."
"You ruined my shirt."
"I did it a favor." Theron yanked his arm free and began to shoulder his way back through the crowd. "Now leave me alone."
"So you're just going to walk away then?" From the slur to the medic's words, Theron's assessment on his state of inebriation wasn't far off. "Guess that's your specialty."
Theron paused mid-step, feeling a hot feeling of anger boil up from is gut. He shoved it back down, way down with everything else. This wasn't a back alley in Blacksun Territory and Doc wasn't some random thug that Theron could pummel into submission. He just needed to get another drink and get back to his booth. The less he talked to Doc, the less he would be reminded of what he no longer had. Not that he needed any extra reminders, those managed to rise up in the back of his mind all on their own.
Unfortunately, it would have been easier to ignore Doc if the medic didn't decide to hound Theron's every footstep. "That is what you do, isn't it?"
"Stop trying to pick a fight."
"You just ruin things and leave everyone else to pick up the pieces."
"It's a shirt, just launder it."
"I'm not talking about the shirt and you know it!"
Theron's steps slowed to a halt and he slowly turned to glare at the other man. If Doc hadn't been three sheets to the wind, he might have seen the dangerous glint in the spy's eye, and the clear warning to back off. "You need to leave."
"I warned you back on Rishi what would happen if you ever broke her heart."
Theron flinched, almost as if he'd been slapped. "I didn't… she was fine when I left her. We were fine. She didn't say anything…"
"Does she ever? Anytime I asked what happened all she would say is that 'everyone' needed space. But I know that look, caused it enough times on enough faces to recognize it anywhere."
"I wasn't trying to…" How had she even thought that? After everything they'd gone through? He'd thought that nothing else could feel like a punch to the gut, and it shouldn't have mattered what a dead woman had thought of him or his intentions. "But I called. You were supposed to tell her—"
"Tell her what? To call you back? So that once you eased your conscience, then Kira, me, and everyone else could start right back over to pick up whatever pieces fell after you said your peace?"
"Me? I wasn't the one that took her back to Ziost!"
"You think any of us wanted to go there? She wouldn't leave it alone, kept saying that she had to do something. And there you were, just sitting on your thumbs on Coruscant."
"Exactly what was I supposed to do? Smuggle myself into Imperial space, charter a shuttle to go back to a dead world that no spacer would go near? And to do what? I had no clearance to leave the planet anyway — and if I had tried it would have been the end of what was left of my career."
"Oh, wouldn't want you to get fired would we?" Doc poked him in the chest as if to emphasize his point.
The nerve in Theron's jaw twitched as his mouth shut with a loud click, a fist balling up at his side. A dark haze of anger was descending over him, and it took every ounce of willpower for him not to punch the drunken medic in the throat. It was only the quiet voice in the back of his mind, reminding him what her reaction would have been to him doing that to a member of her crew. The people that were the closest thing to a family she'd had. They were just as entitled to their grief and their anger as Theron. Probably more so. He of all people understood the need to lash out the nearest and most convenient target.
"Guess it doesn't matter anymore, does it?" Theron finally ground out.
Something flashed in Doc's expression, whatever final bit of restraint of not making the first move broke. Theron could have easily dodged the drunken fist, flattened the other man to the ground, but he didn't bother moving. The pain that exploded across his vision was the closest thing he'd come to feeling anything that day. He lightly traced his eye, which was already beginning to swell shut. Doc heaved in deep breaths in front of him, nostrils flaring as he glared at the SIS Agent with utter contempt.
"Feel better?" Theron snapped.
"No," Doc snarled, and made another swing.
Theron caught it easily, twisting the other man's wrist until he let out a small gasp of pain. "You only get one, Kimble."
"You damn bastard—"
"You're drunk." Theron let him go, taking a step back. "Go home."
"I don't have a home anymore—it's gone. They're all gone."
The stirrings of something, maybe it was guilt, maybe it was pity, began to flutter somewhere in Theron, but there was nothing he could do. They were all broken. Fighting a war on two fronts had cost them countless lives, both military and civilian. They'd lost the Jedi. They were blockaded, cut off from all supplies, and slowly starving. They had already lost everything. They were just waiting for Saresh to come to her senses and admit it.
"You made her smile," Doc said quietly. "I hadn't seen that smile in years… it was beautiful. Special."
Unbidden, a bright sunny face filled his mind's eye and for a moment chased away all the dark shadows that had gathered. Theron turned away, blunt fingernails biting into his palm. Blood pounded in his ears in time to the throbbing behind his eye. He needed a drink. Now.
"And there you go again—just walking away. It's like you don't even care about her—"
Theron hadn't even realized he'd started moving. Didn't even notice the red haze descend across his vision. It was only after someone had grabbed his entire upperbody and pulled him back mid-tackle, shouting in his ear the whole time did anything register. And only then he saw the wide-eyed startled look on Doc's face as Theron continued to try and wrestle free.
"Damn it, Shan, stop!" Theron had never heard Jonas that serious in all of the years they'd worked together.
The red tint to his vision faded slowly, but the blood still pounded in his ear, drowning out half of the noise of the rest of the place. The altercation hadn't attracted any attention other than Theron's fellow agent, which was probably for the best considering that he was still on probation. Getting into a fistfight in a cantina probably wouldn't help in the long run. And the damn job was all he had left at this point.
"You need to leave," Jonas told Doc sternly.
Jonas didn't loosen his grip as he forcibly maneuvered his friend back to the booth they'd claimed in the back. He muttered an angry diatribe the entire way about reckless and idiotic behavior. Theron tuned him out, watching as Doc slipped out the door without so much as another look in their direction.
At the time, with his head pounding between Jonas's well-meaning lecture and the eye that was starting to swell shut, Theron had been glad to see him go. One more reminder of her was gone, and maybe, just maybe he'd find some peace.
He didn't, of course.
By the time Theron had thought to look, several years had past, and the trail to one Archiban Froderick Kimble had gone cold somewhere in the depths of the Outer Rim where he'd disappeared to. He tried not to let his regret show whenever the name of her old friend cropped up in conversation, and he never mentioned the incident to her either. It was best to leave some things unsaid. It left less bruises that way.